David Ritchie Visits His Biological Father

04/01/2009 at 03:00 PM ET

Hello, sir! David Banda Ritchie shakes hands with Yohane Banda, his biological father, in Malawi on Monday. Currently in the country with mom Madonna as she submits to legal processes to adopt a 4-year-old girl — her case will be heard Friday — David, 3 ½, had the opportunity to meet with Yohane during the visit.

Tom Munro/AP

A second photo is below!

Tom Munro/AP

FILED UNDER: Kids , News

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XOXO on

David is so big…his father must be so happy to see him!

kate on

Aww. That is SO sweet. You can just see the pride and relief in that man’s eyes. Really touching

Niki on

He looks so happy! I am so glad that Madonna is letting David visit and learn about his culture. It says a lot about her as a person.

Leslie on

awwww love this pic!!! I hope one day to locate my Adoptive Daughters Birthmother!

Dounia on

Dunno why, but this pic makes me want to cry. It’s too emotional

Janey on

That is so wonderful! I’m not usually a fan of Madonna, but I hope that allows David to keep in contact with his biological dad. Growing up surrounded by millionairs and GOOP it’ll be hard for him to remember his roots, his dad can be a reminder.

Chloe on

Why is Madonna taking children out of their home country when they have biological parents there?? There are plenty of orphans without family that could be adopted, but she seems set on taking away children with families and its not right. David should be with his father, not with Madonna. Sorry, but I don’t agree a bit with what she is doing and I hope the courts stop her taking little Mercy away as well, and let her biological grandmother resume her care when she reaches the right age.

Susan on

I find the entire situation unsettling. I can’t say exactly why – but it doesn’t feel quite right to me.

Sarah on

His dad looks like he is doing well for himself. He has a nice suit and all. She is confusing me. Tons of actual orphans out there that have no parents….even in the good ole USA!

vanessa on

not to look too much into the pic, but that is his birth father! She seems to have a tight grip on him. Does she think that he may be taken away? Just my thought. He is very big though@

aubrey madeline on

what a sweet picture

Lis on

Susan: agreed.

Lisa on

That picture makes me cry.

Even though he smiles, it must have been a horrible situation for David’s father. Did he get to hold his son? He looks – and he probably felt that way too – like a complete outsider in those pics.

Kimm on

Of course it doesn’t sit right with you. This is a staged media opportunity designed to shield Madonna’s image from negative commentary. If she had not met with Mr. Banda, she would have been lambasted for not allowing the little boy access to his roots. It may even have interfered with her current adoption proceedings.

And, on the matter of these children having biological families, it is moot. These children were left by those families in orphanages. Orphanages where, although they are better off than with their families, the advantages are only slight. They are kept alive. If these families cannot — and do not suggest that I am faulting African families for it — care for these children and give them up to orphanages that allow adoption, then they really have no right to complain down the road. While certainly they miss the root they have given away, these children have come into a privileged life where they will only survive, they will be given the opportunity to thrive.

Elle on

vanessa,

according to what davids father, David got to sit in his lap n stuff like that.

http://perezhilton.com/2009-03-31-david-banda-meets-his-biological-father#respond

I do kinda find it weird…like why are their cameras? Because its madonna i always have a hard time believing that its not for show.

sat on

David looks happy.

Ryo on

Just the fact that Madonna let cameras follow her and David in there should tell you exactly what this is – another publicity stunt on Madonna’s part. It would be different if David’s father had talked about it afterwards, but to have Madonna let a bunch of photographers photograph this moment between David and his dad is disgusting. I am glad that the two got to meet though – David’s dad looks ecstatic.

Elle on

I just wanna add, that I hope while Madonna is taking kids out of the country to give them a better life; I hope she has joined the fight to better the lives of suffering African children who will not be as fortunate as David. I mean yes, taking a child out of the country will benefit their life but it would be completely unnecessary if some of the problems in these countries were resolved. For example Davids dad and Mercys g-ma wold take care of them if they could.

Madonna is no politician but she has participated in humanitarian organizations in the past. So while its not her responsibility I hope its something she’s considered.

Erica on

I feel bad saying this because God knows, if little Mercy were adopted by Madonna she’d be privy to a life of luxury, but I hope the Malawian courts side with her grandmother. It’s something different if the child in question is truly an orphan, with no parents or family who want them. But I do think it’s wrong to remove a child from his home, his culture, his family, his LIFE simply because you can financially provide better. If Madonna truly had the best interests of Mercy at heart she would set up a trust fund for her and her grandmother which would allow this family to keep from splintering even more than they have been.

Regarding David’s situation, I believe his father willingly gave him up to be adopted. It must have been a heartbreaking choice, but at least it was his to make. We don’t know the full story but if Mercy’s grandmother is fighting the adoption Madonna should respect that and offer to help in any other way she can–that would be a mark of a true humanitarian.

Toni on

Whats said is that David did not know who his own dad was. Reports say that the Father said that they boy did not know who he was. Also his father seem disappointed that his son no longer knew his language….they had to have someone to translate. To have your little boy ask you “Why are you poor”, “Do you have a horse, i do etc” just seems sad.

If Madonna wants to help, then perhaps adopt children that have no parents in that country or in the USA etc. Makes you wonder if this is all for media attention.

Anway David looks like a great little boy, very happy.

Toni on

To add….if she cares why not donate money, rather than removing children from their hoe country?

yessa on

kimm-the issue of biological parents in these situations is not totally moot…in many under-developed nations, orphanages are seen as a something like a boarding school, where the children can receive an education, food, and a fairly stable environment. many, many children in these orphanages have one or both parents living–they just cannot provide financially for them. when madonna first adopted david, that was one of the issues. his father had not placed him in the orphanage to be adopted, but to be raised. that’s why the adoption took so long…if you ever consider adoption, do your research into the facilities!

and while i wholeheartedly think a child should have the opportunity to know his birth family and culture, i do find the blatant photo-op a little insulting to the emotional magnitude of such an event…

Gigi on

Most children in orphanages are not actual orphans, they are abandoned by their birth parents for various reasons, usually poverty. David’s mother is dead and his father chose to give him up for adoption. I don’t see the problem with any of it except that Madonna clearly gets special treatment from the govt there. I thought the rules were that foreigners had to live in the country for two years. That was waived for Madonna. Then again China doesn’t let single people adopt but that didn’t stop Meg Ryan. In the end though a child in need has a better life. Even if Madonna is a horrible role model, she definetly has the means to give David and Mercy a good life.

Sluga on

Why when Angelina does that everything is okay, and when it comes to Madonna it’s all “oh she’s doing that for publicity”?

Di on

It was really nice of Madonna to allow David to spend some time with his biological father. She did not have to permit it but she did. I know some adoptive parents would not have allowed any contact with the biological parents until the child was an adult. We have come such a long way from the time of closed adoptions where all the records were sealed and children do not know where they came from.
I know a lot of people consider this image to be a photo-op and it is but it does show that Madonna was sincere when said that David would growing up knowing about his culture through periodic visits. I do not know if agree with her adopting another child but it would be good for David for him to grow up with someone who shares his cultural heritage.

Lauren on

I totally agree with Elle. Why did she release this picture to the media? To seem sympathetic, obviously. I think she and certain other celebs make adopting look like a game. I really do, and I hate that I believe that about fellow human beings. Neighbors of ours spent two years in the adoption process, finally welcoming a daughter from China. If they had a bevy of lawyers, a private jet and lots of money to donate to an orpahanage I’m sure it wouldn’t have taken so long. On the other hand, maybe my friends’ persistence and obviously well-planned goal to have a child says something about their selflessness and heart-flet deisre to raise a family. Just a thought.

krewcat on

The picture makes me sad. How hard it must be to explain that this is your dad, not the other guy you call your dad. And that his bio didnt intend int he beginning for him to be adopted. It just makes me sad, I know how I would feel if it were me.

I guess I just feel like she has so many other options, why pick this one? Why go into a countyr, not follow their rules, try to take a child who has at least a family member who doesn’t want her adopted, etc.

I do not recall Angelina ever taking one of her children and having them pose with thier bio parents in fromt of cameras…maybe I missed that day.

Lizzie on

On another site, David’s father said that he lost two sons and was grateful to Madonna because he thought David might have died also in that orphanage. On another note, Madonna had an orphanage built there and after that meeting with the biological Dad, they were going to visit it. I find it strange that of all the vast resources in that Continent, it takes famous foreigners to get clean water to drink (Jay Z) and adequate orphanages and quality schools for girls. Rampant corruption and greed abounds in the those countries and often the food for the needy is sold on the black market by the very officials that are there to take care of the needy. I also feel that there are many children in need of adoption in this country who could do with the vast resources of the Madonnas and Anjolina Jolie-Pitts🙂

Ana on

It must be hard for Davids father..its his son after all but i think he just wants a better life for him.
I really dont know what to think to be honest, im just sad that some people are too poor to raise their children,😦 its sad that some parts of the world have to be like this.

Janey on

Why when Angelina does that everything is okay, and when it comes to Madonna it’s all “oh she’s doing that for publicity”?

Cause she’s awesome!!

No, I get the impression that Angelina has mastered the art of a clean adoption.I’ve never heard of any bio-parents complaining.

Also, from what I’ve read Angelina makes a constant effort that her adopted children knows their cultures(I believe they all speak their native languages).

My only fault with Angie I wonder if its a good idea to add to her brood as quickly as she does. I think nature makes gestation 9months for a reason and after that a woman get usually conceive for a while. I wonder if it has a negative effect on her family dynamic. I mean at 6 kids it can still feel like a family but at 9, 10 I imagine it feeling more like a rainbow tribe.

MZ on

Sluga, they are diff. situations. Angelina adopted kids without living biological parents and in countries where adoption was allowed (though she sort of skirted the Vietnamese law of now allowing co-habitating couples to adopt by adopting Pax as a single woman if I’m not mistaken). Madonna adopted a child (and possibly soon to be children) with living relatives in a country where adoption by foreigners is either illegal or has rules that she did not follow.

Megan on

I was prepared to be upset with Madonna here but the look on her face just seems so natural and earnest and not the normal “fake” look and it just brings out how human she is. There’s so much emotion in these pictures and as an adoptive mother looking forward to one day travelling with my son to see his remaining family it almost made me cry.

Someone linked to another site with an interview with Yohane Banda and it seems it was a nice visit, probably as nice as it could be when dealing with a child this young. Of course he’s going to have trouble conceiving why this man is poor or what he does for a living or even who he is. The child is 3 years old! He knows his life only right now. As for why he’s on Madonna’s lap, well, she’s his mom and he probably felt more comfortable at first that way.

I think people could argue about whether Madonna should’ve adopted him forever. What matters now is that A) the father is happy Madonna adopted him, B) the child is happy and enjoying his life, and C) Madonna is keeping him connected to his roots. And honestly I don’t know if I’d necessarily call this a photo op. When we adopted our son we had other people take pictures and video for us when we met with his family in order to show to our son when he was older and many of those pictures look pretty similar to this (sitting near each other, a little awkward). We don’t know how many photographers were there, there’s only one angle so it’s possible one person snapped a few photos and then left them alone, maybe even released them without permission.

Like I said, to me it’s really Madonna’s face that gives away her human side. She looks genuinely happy and loving. And look at that first photo! Yohane and David have the same smile. I’m just so glad for them that it’s worked out thus far and that Madonna is keeping her son connected to his roots (and bringing both aid and attention to Malawi).

Janey on

“I find it strange that of all the vast resources in that Continent, it takes famous foreigners to get clean water to drink (Jay Z) and adequate orphanages and quality schools for girls”

The continent is still suffering from the effect of colonization. To be blunt the land is continuously raped for resources and the poor are abused for labor. On top of that at any given time SOME kinda of war is going on on either side of the continent. Its really incredibly incredibly sad and horrific.

Alex on

I, too, am uncomfortable with this whole thing. It’s coming off like ‘what Madonna wants, Madonna gets’ and that is really awful. I don’t care what is said about the so-called creation of adoption laws in Malawi (or whatever Madonna’s chatter was about little David’s adoption), the whole thing just smacks of a rich woman using her money and status to pull strings. You can bet every last penny you have that if one of us tried to adopt like she has, we’d have been turned down flat. And how can someone ‘adopt’ a child like this, knowing that there is an immediate relative objecting to it? I agree with all those who are saying the photos look staged for publicity and sympathy. Poor David and Yohane, both victims of the Madonna propaganda machine….

JMO on

Sluga – I think peoples beef with her is that she seems to do the adoption thingy quickly and then also that these children have living parents and they think she’s “stealing” the children away.

Here is my theory the children are in orphanages for a reason. Most likely a parent couldn’t take care of them. If this grandmother wants this child and wanted her ALL along…then why is Mercy in an orphanage? It obviously is a clear indication that the grandmother didn’t have the means to keep the little girl from the beginning.

I don’t think any child should be ripped from any home but if it comes down to a warm loving place to live out your life vs living in poverty and having nothing I’d choose for that child to have the better life.

Little David probably doesn’t remember his father bc he was taken from him at 2. If she doesn’t continue to bring him back often or show him a picture then how is this child going to know him??

According to Madonna she wants David to always remember his Malawian (sp) roots. I hope she sticks to that notion. I don’t think Madonna is “forgetting” the children of other countries esp. the US. I think the fact is is that she has David and now she’d like to give him a sibling that he can grow up with and share the same background. What is so wrong with that? I am sure had she gone and adopted over in China or Russia perhaps she’d be opting to do a second adoption in those countries as well.
Angelina adopted Pax so Maddox can relate to someone and even said she’d like to get someone Z can relate to. Are we going to criticize her because she goes out and chooses to adopt in a foreign country – yet again?

I’m aware that Madonna is probably getting “special” treatment and yes it’s probably not fair. But are we seroiusly going to pass all this negativity on to a woman who seems to just be trying to help. And how do we not know that Madonna doesn’t give money to Africa and other countries to help with poverty conditions??

To me David always seems happy. And hopefully Madonna will eventually get her child. But I do hope that it’s all done the right way.

Michelle on

Madonna seems to aged overnight.

Toni on

“Here is my theory the children are in orphanages for a reason. Most likely a parent couldn’t take care of them. If this grandmother wants this child and wanted her ALL along…then why is Mercy in an orphanage? It obviously is a clear indication that the grandmother didn’t have the means to keep the little girl from the beginning.”
Because an orphanage is like a boarding school. Also the orphanage will obviously push the grandmother away for profit, horrible to say i know, but very possible. Bribary and coruption is so ripe in the world today.

Bessie on

I’m sorry, but I don’t believe Madonna has a selfless bone in her body!

Lucy on

It’s so sad to know that he would have been able to keep his child if he had enough money. Why take a child away from his family? Why if she loved him so much not just have given the family enough money and visited when she could? And adopted a real orphan who needs parents?

Cyd on

To those judging Madonna.

Exactly how many poverty stricken children have you relieved from a lifetime of hardship?

Thought so.

Amanda on

I might be the only one but I don’t know about this. Photo opportunity or not, I’m not sure if it’s a good thing for David to be meeting Yohane. He knows Guy as his father and I don’t see the advantages that a meeting like this brings for a 3 and a half year old boy.

kris on

Kimm – I couldn’t agree more with your comments.

Emma on

Lizzie – the “vast resources” in Africa? You have to be kidding! Compared to us (UK) and you (I’m guessing US but may be wrong) they have absolutely nothing!! Have you ever been to Africa? Yes, the governments of SOME african nations may be rich, and they are probably all corrupt (as are most western goverments for that matter) but this is by no means the case for ALL african countries.

Chris on

I read on another site that David had no idea who his biological father was. Madonna should at least given David a picture of his biological father to get used to the idea because he is too young to understand what’s going on. I’m pretty sure he sees Guy Richie as his father so this must be confusing to say the least.

I don’t find it odd that cameras were there, maybe she wanted to capture the moment for David. However there is something fishy about these being released to the public.

Leah on

What a shame they couldn’t meet in private.

Akanimo Uwan on

Very touching picture and very moving. God bless Madonna for reuniting her adopted son with his biological father.

paula on

When we adopted our son from Russia (BTW, we knew that he had a living birth mom somewhere) we saw countless children in the orphanage who were not adoptable. They had a living relative somewhere in Russia who could not take care of them but would not terminate parental rights, yet NEVER or rarely visited them. It was a very sad situation for these kids. In these cases, I think it is much better for the children to be put up for adoption. If you visited an orphanage, you would understand. An orphanage can never replace a family, even a slightly dysfunctional one.

Anna on

People are saying David’s father put him in the orphanage because he couldn’t care for him, yet he went on to have another child (or even children?) so that makes no sense. To be honest I wish he would stop speaking to the press, he is just doing this for money and it is not about his son.

JMO on

The only concern I have is Lourdes belongs to Carlos, Rocco and David to Guy, and I’m sure Guy very much considers Lourdes to be like a daughter, where does this leave the new child?? So when all her siblings are visiting with daddy where is she? That will have to be confusing to raise 3 children to have fathers and one doesn’t.

Just seems very confusing then again it’s still a better life then she may have now.

I always feel like celebrities SHOULD adopt….not saying they can’t have their own too but they are the one’s that have the means to save children better then anyone else. So I can’t fault Madonna for it but I do hope it’s all sincere.

Elle on

Emma- Vast resources

Africa has Oil, Gold, Silver, Aluminum,Diamonds, vast forest. If outside nations would stop taking, taking taking from the continent and if the leaders would care for the people Africa could be as a whole a world power. Its a self fulfilling prophecy, people think of africa of this cesspool of despair so it is.

Natasha on

I think its extremely unfair to say that Madonna selfish, a bad mother, etc. because you really have NO idea.

dickieangenson on

As odd as it may seem to all of us (please remember, these are two snapshots of two moments in time) it is clear, in the eyes of Malawi law, that David’s bio father could not parent him and therefore David was available for adoption. Americans have the misconception that children available for adoption in the US have no live biological parents. Most children in the USA are orphaned by parents who are too poor, too sick or too caught up in some addiction to be able to parent, and these children cannot wait years for parents to get better. Federal law does not allow it, and morally it wouldnt be right either. His father may look okay in the picture, but we have no idea what prevents him from adequately parenting his children.

Suzy Q on

“Why when Angelina does that everything is okay, and when it comes to Madonna it’s all “oh she’s doing that for publicity”?

I’m sorry but I have to laugh at this question. Go back in the CBB archives and read some of the comments made right after Angelina adopted Pax. They will turn your stomach. Also funny is how Brad is somehow left out of the equation as if he doesn’t exist in their family planning. HA!

Now back to Madonna. She’s not a favorite of mine but most children up for adoption have living relatives and to say Madonna should give money to David’s bio dad so he could raise him is just strange to me. Many adoptive parents, even those without bank accounts like Madonna’s, are still financially better off than the birth parents. Should prospective adoptive parents NOT adopt but instead give money to the birth parents so that the birth parents can keep the child? That’s not the point of adoption. I think Madonna has by far done more good than harm in the lives of Yohane and David.

Amanda on

I think any time some one is able to offer a child a better life, it’s a blessing, but in this situation..I find it a little sad. IF I were Madonna in this case with the financial resources that she has, I would have offered to buy David’s father a home, offered to get him so help..and I would have allowed him to feel the joy of raising his child. David’s father, not only lost his wife, but one of his other sons who died in infancy. When you have a child, you want them to have the best life possible..even if that means that their life would be shared with someone else (as long as you knew that your child would live happy and healthy with no needs and wants). I feel so sad, that this poor father just simply couldn’t afford to raise his son. If I were a celebrity with lots of money, and I had the opportunity to keep a father with his son, I would- in a heartbeat.

g!na on

The only problem I have is when people say ” Celebrities should adopt children because they have the means.” I believe people should adopt because they want a child and their doing it for the right reasons and not because they have money! I believe a normal couple (not celebrity)should be able to adopt who really sincerely want a child before a celebrity who is only doing it because they have the money for it! I,also, feel that celebrities are not obligated to adopt! even if they have money, does not mean they should adopt! Adoption is a huge decision! It’s a life-long decision that should not be taken lightly!

alice jane on

I don’t follow Madonna enough to know much about what’s going on with her and this adoption, but the biggest question that comes to mind for me when I see these pictures is, how has Madonna explained who this man is, in regards to Guy Ritchie? And I wonder what Guy thinks about this. I think it’s great that David is keeping in touch with where he comes from, and he and Yohane Banda both have huge smiles on their faces. I just hope it’s been explained to David in a way that doesn’t make him confused about his relationship with Guy.

MtMomma on

I would highly suggest watching Madonna’s documentary on her experience with Malawi before coming to any conclusions about her intentions with adoption. It is called “I Am Because We Are”.

MtMomma on

This is the film’s website. I believe you can watch it directly from this site.

http://www.iambecauseweare.com/

I had a lot of notions about Madonna regarding her adoption of David Banda and her possible adoption of Mercy James, that I had formed through what the media reports. After watching this film, my opinions are entirely different.

There is a huge stigma regarding adoption by foreigners in many African countries. If you would like to learn more about this, read the book called “Love in the Driest Season” by Neely Tucker, along with watching the film. The book is an excellent account of the difficulties surrounding foreign adoption in Zimbabwe.

Once you understand that there are children suffering needlessly in these countries who could be adopted out to people around the world with the means to give them good lives, it becomes apparent just how ludicrous the stigmas and subsequent bureaucratic difficulties of adoption in these African countries really are. It is a tragedy that these children are not afforded the possibility of a better life the way those are in countries with more open adoption laws. I understand that a person’s culture is an important part of who they are, but if they end up sick or dying, without the opportunity for a better life simply because their culture is paramount, I think this is poor logic and very tragic. The children suffer in exchange for a country’s illogical and misguided cultural pride.

sinclair on

“Lizzie – the “vast resources” in Africa? You have to be kidding! Compared to us (UK) and you (I’m guessing US but may be wrong) they have absolutely nothing!! Have you ever been to Africa? Yes, the governments of SOME african nations may be rich, and they are probably all corrupt (as are most western goverments for that matter) but this is by no means the case for ALL african countries.”

Emma, what African countries have you visited? Are you aware that not all of Africa is like those “Feed the Children” ads? Surely there are African nations that are suffering, but the progress is rarely spoken of.

I’m sorry, but Emma, your comment reflects a vast amount of Western ignorance. The UK and the US may have resources–material wealth–but where do you think they get the NATURAL resources to accomplish this? What countries do you think they rob/manipulate/suck dry to fatten their pockets? I’ll give you a hint: many of these countries are in Africa and Latin America. Western nations may have wealth, but how wealthy are you if you cannot even grow your own food because the soil is subsidized by the government for wheat, soy, and corn?! Does any of this ring a bell? Well, it is what is happening in the US. As for the UK, surely you know that the UK draws a great deal of natural resources from Africa–particularly the countries it formally brutalized (*notice I did not write colonize–that is entirely too mild a description).

Guess where the materials for your cell phone originated? Most likely, Africa. Were you aware of that?

“Emma- Vast resources

Africa has Oil, Gold, Silver, Aluminum,Diamonds, vast forest. If outside nations would stop taking, taking taking from the continent and if the leaders would care for the people Africa could be as a whole a world power. Its a self fulfilling prophecy, people think of africa of this cesspool of despair so it is.”

Thank you, Elle…It’s interesting and sad how people in other nations fail to recognize Africa’s contribution to THEIR lifestyles. Ironic and sad.

Clair on

MZ i believe that Zahara Jolie-Pitts biological mother is still alive

MtMomma on

It is a nice thought that if Madonna simply gave money to David Banda’s father, or Mercy James’ grandmother, that their lives and problems would improve and they would be able to give their children or grandchildren good lives. It isn’t this simple, however. The father and grandmother are adults, without money-management skills, raised in a society that suffers from severe poverty, lack of education, entrenched in superstitions and strong beliefs about witchcraft and religion…so many angles we cannot possibly begin to understand. Throwing money at such a complex situation is not always the answer. Money can solve a lot of problems, but ultimately the problems are rooted in much deeper issues that need to be remedied through generations of people, starting with the children. Sometimes money can make problems worse. One person or family suddenly becoming well-off in a society filled with poor is not a recipe for success. People in the United States are naive to the reality of life in such impoverished countries. We think that money fixes everything. This is not the case in countries like Malawi. Most people in this nation live in rural areas that are controlled by village chiefs who dictate the rules for those living in the village. If someone in the village suddenly accrues a better standard of living, there is bound to be fallout. We do not understand a tribal way of life in the United States. We are extremely independent, beholden to no one. If we have extra money, we put it in the bank. This is not the case for many more rural and tribal peoples of the world.

Madonna is spending money on developing a modern orphanage and a program called Spirituality for Kids, which gives young children the tools for a better future. She has also sponsored the education of a young boy in Malawi, possibly more that I have not heard about. She provided a new home for a family in Malawi whose son had suffered a violent attack resulting in his castration. Madonna chose to help David Banda because he was dying in an orphanage…she had watched infant David go from healthy to the brink of death with pneumonia and felt compelled to do something about it. I have nothing but respect for her mission in Malawi. It is only one country, but it is a step toward the betterment of humanity. Most of us cannot say as much.

Linda on

Gigi, Meg Ryan adopted a girl from China at a time when singles were able to adopt from China. Those new rules only apply to adoptions filed in May 2007 and later.

As for Madonna, not so sure.

Grace on

I am such a non-fan of this entire racket.

Having spent extensive time researching how to adopt as a single mom, this situation is just insane. A single, over-50, out-of-country recent divorcee? Hells, no. That does not get approved, usually. Most adoption agencies see that set of qualifications coming and restrict availability to older children or kids with physical or medical disabilities (who are obviously worthy of adoption, but it’s pretty clear that that’s not why they’re being paired with older single moms).

So now we’ve got your textbook “restricted adoption” candidate, and she’s claiming to be a “pioneer” by adopting outside all known Malawian law? Bull. Shenanigans. All of it.

Angelina doesn’t get crap because she’s going through established adoption programmes in countries with a track record. Did they bend the rules with Pax? Possibly — she’s not married to Pitt, but it might’ve been taken into account in the homestudy. But that’s one rule, the “single lady” rule. Madonna is bending both adoptive mother protocols AND Malawian laws.

Sure, maybe she’s a great mom, I have no idea. But having operated in Africa before (not in adoption, in general burearocracy) I can tell you this is straight-up shady in its execution. These orphanages ARE viewed as more boarding school-ish, it’s a totally different culture, and Madonna’s swooping in and offering local politicians money for projects, and just so happens to fly off with a child against all regs? SHUDDER.

If she was so interested in Malawi, then sponsor adoption reform there, but adopt somewhere else where it doesn’t come across as child-buying. This whole thing feels like she wanted a Malawian kid, so she went shopping, despite there being a fair number of operating African adoption programmes already available. No, it had to be MALAWIAN kids…

CelebBabyLover on

Janey- I think Angie knows what she’s doing. She mentioned in TWO different interviews this past Fall that they ONLY add to their family when the kids they already have a ready for a new sibling and when the previous new arrival or arrivals have been “fully intergrated into the family”. She even acknowledged that “People must think we’re crazy, bringing them in one right after the other,” before going on to explain about only adding to the family when the time is right.

MZ- Angie techincally did NOT skirt the law in Vietnam. Vietnamese law makes it difficult for umarried couples to adopt. So Angie adopted as a single parent. Legally, single is what she is, so she was techinically following the law.

Lilly on

Lourdes, Madonna’s 12 year-old daughter, and a nanny both had a camera. I don’t think it was the “press” who took these pictures and were present during the meeting.

David was incredibly ill and had been constantly sick while at the orphanage. Two of his siblings died before he was born and his mother died shortly after his birth. He is alive because Madonna gave him medical care. Yohanne himself reiterated that and said he is very happy that David was adopted, is being taken care of, and is very fond of his parents. He is proud of how well David is doing and liked how Madonna and Guy are with David.

Yohanne has another child because he remarried and is now working as a farmer.

Some of you are acting as though these children are living in lofty boarding schools where they are loved and taken care of and given regular meals. If you see the documentary, you will see hundreds and hundreds of children raising themselves (an 8 year-old girl who was HIV+ was taking care of David when he was a baby) while there are only two adults in the orphanage. Malawi is the 2nd poorest country in the world and the situation is so dire there. More than 1 million children, many affected with HIV/AIDS, a large percentage of HIV+ adults, and a very short life expectancy.

Madonna’s charity is currently supporting, taking care of, and sponsoring 4,000 children. She is building schools, a health center, orphanage, etc.

Blackrose on

i really dont get why many of u are upset that Madonna adopted David while his father is still alive…His father gave him up for adoption and i think he did that because he loves him so much.
Dont you have many teenager moms who give their children up..Davids father is not any different..so please stop criticizing Madonna and enjoy this emotional picture.

Lilly on

And to everyone saying that Madonna is adopting merely for publicity– she received so much negativity and was constantly attacked the first time around, so why would someone who is so savvy about the press actually go around and do it again?

She isn’t benefiting in this whole situation–maybe, just maybe, she actually cares about both children she has tried to adopt? It took 2 years to finalize David’s adoption and she’s been trying to adopt Mercy, whom she met when she saw David, for a while as well and it will take her another 18-24 months until Mercy’s adoption is finalized.

If she truly wanted some free publicity, she can just show up for some random premiere, a night club opening, or some other vapid event and not have to endure the extreme scrutiny and negativity, plus the massive responsibility of caring for and bringing up a child for the next 18+ years.

Lilly on

Correction to my comment, photos are from AP. Lourdes was also seen taking pictures the whole they have been there.

Hea on

Let biofather meet bioson but don’t bring in the world press for the occasion. It makes the whole thing look like a cheap publicity stunt.

kim on

in response to ‘lily’ re. madonnas publicity… no publicity is bad publicity and it seems to me that Madonna is someone who likes to push buttons and push boundaries and generally ruffle some feathers… maybe thats the reasons why she’s gone back for round two? I totally respect that they’re are alot of opinions on this subject, my personal opinion is that i feel this little boy would have been better left in his own culture with his father. If Madonna cared that much why didn’t she support the family financially or support his education? Heck, i’m sure she has enough money to support the whole town! Thats my personal opinion… It must have been a heartbreaking decision for Davids father to let his son go… makes me so sad to think he had to make that choice…

Mommy of 3 on

It makes me sick to see that they had to show this moment to the world! There is no reason other then fame and publicity for them to let everyone and their dogs see it.
Hopefully the next time they can have a private mtg…….this was completley uncalled for IMO

Amy on

If I lived somewhere that poor and I didn’t have the way to feed my child properly or give them medical aid, I would consider adoption. Better than to see my children suffer (by the way, I have 3).

I am sure that is what happened with Davids father.

The fact the he DOES have a living parent doesn’t mean they could have been taken care off…

Delilah on

This photo just crushes my heart.

That poor man to have what must be a very bittersweet moment in his life reduced to a photo op for the queen of self promotion.

His father clearly gave his son up in the hope of him living a better life than he could provide him.
The joy at seeing his child happy and healthy, tempered by the feeling of loss of not having a daily role in his sons life.

I do not recall the last time I had such a visceral response to a photo on CBB.

Elle on

I don’t think you can really blame anyone who thinks this is for publicity. She’s made her entire career off the public.

rose on

i have to join the bandwagon of poeple who agree that there is a difference between angelinas and madonnas adoptions.

1.Angelina never tried to shorten the process which is required by law, she made several visits (at least i’ve heard this)and neer isited once for a week and took the child home! like madonna is doing for the second time now

2. zaharas birth mom IS still alie but she had no more interest in her child. mercy and david still have relatives that fight for them and i think this should be considered although it might be questionable to put your child in an orphanage.but why do you have to take children away which have loved ones (and why does madonna always seem to pick THOSE children??) it is not like orphans are rare in africa (not meant in a rude way but seriously)

3.if madonna does something charitable she always has it documented on 100 cameras. brad and angelina are also followed and filmed while doing charity work but they do a lot more than madonna and do not stick it out into everyones faces.

it is really nice and good of madonna to pay for an orphanage but it always seems as something to rectify her adoptions. the last two years i have heard nothing of madonna doing charity and just a rethorical question: how much did angie and brad do?!

YEAH and THERE’S the difference.
there might have been controversies about pax adoption but the jolie-pitts neer tried to bend or break the law and always had respect for the customs of the country they adopt from.

rose on

i am very sorry the “V” on my keyboard doesn’t work properly but i hope you can read this anyways

kim on

^^^^^^ well said rose ^^^^^^

Sanna on

Sorry rose, but there isn’t any evidence that David’s father has been fighting for him. Where did you get that info?

Rachelsun on

There is no evidence that woman in the tabloids is Zahara’s birth mother. She was paid by the tabloids to say that and it has been disputed by the Ethiopian court but why let the truth get in the way of a story?

paula on

I’ve never been a Madonna fan, but even I can appreciate that she is in a no-win situation with the media and the public. If she never shows picture of her and David, David with his bio dad, David in Malawi, then she’s accused of snatching David away from his real father and culture. If she does show those pictures to the public, then she’s accused of being a publicity hound. She just can’t win. As far as I’m concerned, she saved that little boy’s life, she continues to have a genuine commitment to the people of Malawi and she very well may be opening the doors to better and more open adoption laws in the that country, which could save the lives of countless other children. I only have respect for her at this point.
And, btw, with open adoption being the norm in the U.S., many many kids here also know that they have both a birth family and a (adoptive) family. Many even have visits with their birth family. So if you’re worried about him being confused, it’s something that all of us adoptive families (domestic and international) have to explain to our kids. It’s not out of the ordinary.

Akanimo Uwan on

Quit judging her, adoption even in the African context is usually shrouded in secrecy. I am a Nigerian and I know the stereotypes surrounding adoption. If David’s father understood the terms of the adoption and consented to it, then, it’s perfectly legal. My only misgivings with the whole scenario was the report in the media that Guy Ritchie was not in favor of adopting David Banda. As for the little orphan, I still would not fault Madonna if she has custody of the child. It’s better that way for the child, because even if money is exchanged to the girl’s extended family, what’s the probability that she will benefit from Madonna’s largesse?

rose on

i just remember it being in the german press for days (i’m german so maybe i didn’t get all the info that there was like in madonnas homeland so i should have put that into brackets sry

and for zaharas potential mum.well did you ever see a picture of her…she is lika a spitting image the same nose and all.
http://www.gossiportruth.com/2005/08/27/zaharas-natural-mother-is-alive/
on this site there is a photo of her but i remember having seen a better one and she really looked like zahara
if she is not the birth mother then the media did at least pick a good doppelgaenger IMHO

but i agree that i probably chose weak examples for my arguments but over all i just wanted to clarify the differences which are there and i am ashamed that people with money can practically “buy” children and do not have to invest enormous time and effort like other “normal” families who want to adopt. saving an african child is a good thing but laws are made for a reason and there are people who respect them and those who don’t.

and to disrespect laws which are made on the behalf of children is wrong no matter how pure the intent might be.

if madonna had minimized her career for like two years or so, she could have spend a lot of time getting to know mercy and making a good connection just as any other adoptive parent has to do to get accepted.adoption is something i consider as good and wonderful but how would you feel being ripped out of your home (even if it is only an orphanage but she still has her grandmother)and out of the country you’ve known to lie a completely different life with a completely strange family and a mother you will not see too often because she has a big career??
i do consider madonna a good mom but with her schedule i doubt that she can be there 24/7 even the first time after the adoption if she has only one week to finish the adoption (if she had more time, she should spend it to CARE for her child)

cassie on

I’ve seen pics 3 different women in Australian, British and American tabloids claiming to be Zahara’s mother. There is no evidence that any of them is her biological mother.

cassie on

A question ,why is he called David Banda and not David Ritchie?

Becky on

Sluga – I have never seen Angelina taking her children to meet their birth parents and if she ever did that, I could not imagine her doing that in front of cameras. I am sure she would make sure it is a very private meeting.

Becky on

Chris – How can you explain to a 3 year old this Guy is your Dad, but this guy in this picture is your birth father? It’s one thing if she has him in contact with his birth father, like visiting when they are in the country, but a 3 year old is too young to understand who he is. As long as they visit, he will know him and remember him and then when he’s older she can explain to him about him being his birth father, but until then, you can’t fault her for him not knowing he is his birth father.

samburton on

Are you serious, I will love for a rich person to adopt me for I can be raised by my butler, Just kidding. If she’s doing to improve her image thats bad, but if she’s doing it for a good cause and adopting children to give them a better life thats awesome. Hopefully she doing for the child and not for her own selfish reason.

Jennifer on

I’m sorry but these pictures look completely staged,i bet he got all of 5 minutes with his son. I don’t think she would even allow his father to hug him. I can’t believe she is even trying to adopt another child from there. She certainly shouldn’t be taking children away from their biological family unless they show a complete disinterest in the child. She’s trying to appear motherly but i don’t get that vibe from her at all.

stine on

I guess I just don’t get it. The criticism is bizarre. If it was anyone else but Madonna, someone lower profile, it would happen quietly and no one would say anything. But come on, she has to be one of the most famous women in the world, whether she wanted to keep it quiet or not, she has to realize eventually the media would find out and jump all over the situation. I believe she tried to keep David’s adoption quiet and didn’t succeed at that. First there were rumors, and then the media swarmed and we were left with the media debacle of the year. So what’s the point of her trying to be super secret about everything? I’m sure cameras follow her everywhere and I doubt they’re always welcome.

I don’t think this photo was a staged event for publicity. I think she allowed the pictures to be taken for a couple of reasons. If she had denied them, she would have been stalked by cameras anyway and after all the flak she took for the adoption in the first place, she probably wanted it to be known that she had made good on her promise to allow David to see his biological father. I don’t think it’s any different from celebrities selling official first pictures of their babies to magazines to prevent being stalked for the “first pics”.

The tabloids since the beginning have tried to convince the public that David’s father was not in support of the adoption, it only seems logical to me that the best way to dispute that claim is to have a photograph of this nature taken and released. The smiles in the picture are genuine folks, I hate to break it to you, there were no losers in this situation. David’s happy and healthy, his father is happy that his son is well cared for, and Madonna is happy to have a son and to have helped. Many orphaned kids are better for the money she’s been contributing. Who loses in this situation? Really? Mercy’s grandmother who is unable to take care of her granddaughter anyway?

The bottom line is, you could give money to the grandmother so she could take care of Mercy but how is that fair to every other child in the orphanage who has living relatives? Where do you draw the line? Do you just support families until all the children are returned home? How long can you sustain that for?

By supporting orphanages, Madonna is giving these children a chance to survive and possibly be adopted by people that can care for them properly or at the very least keep them alive until their living relatives are able to care for them themselves. By adopting David and Mercy, she’s providing two children with a loving home and she has basically promised an open adoption so that they will know their living relatives and where they came from. Quite simply, there’s not too much more she could do to satisfy all her critics, and she’s going to be criticized anyway.

The only thing she could do differently would be to go adopt from another country where she could process the adoption through clear and visible channels where no one could comment that she was buying babies. But let’s face it, all rich and famous people who adopt basically are buying babies. Quite simply, they have the money to hire the people they need to hire to get these things accomplished. Countries that grant adoptions to celebrities all know that they will be likely to receive a goodwill donation from that celebrity anyway. It’s one of those things that no politician would ever admit to expecting, it’s always a gracious donation, but really it’s never a surprising thing.

None of us can ever know what Madonna’s true intentions are. Whether she’s supporting orphans to grease the adoption wheels, or if she’s doing it because she genuinely cares. And in the end there are only a few things that really matter:

David is happy, healthy and alive.

David’s father is happy that his son is happy, healthy and alive.

Many orphans are going to benefit greatly from the money and programs Madonna is supporting.

Mercy will be raised in a loving home and given every advantage anyone could ever expect to have and will in all likelihood still have contact and know her biological grandmother (If David’s situation is any indication).

Everything else is a moot point. It’s not like this is going to spark an international Malawi baby buying sale. It’s bringing attention to children in an impoverished nation who need help. Maybe ultimately that’s the kind of publicity Madonna is after. Maybe instead of sitting here damning her for what she’s doing, your time would be better spent figuring out how you can all help.

Just a thought.

Thomas on

What Madonna has done and continues to do is very admirable. Those who judge her unfairly are missing the point. Clearly this is not some fad for her. She doesn’t parade her adoptive child as some sort of fashion piece. She truly cares and wants to help those who really need assistance. Yes there are children in the U.S. who need adoptive parents, but the laws as they currently stand make adoption exceedingly difficult even for people with the financial werewithal. Madonna deserves praise rather than condemnation for her efforts. She is trying to make a positive difference. And allowing the birth parent to see and spend time with the adopted child? How many adoptive parents do that? Mahatma Ghandi advised that we “be the positive difference we’d like to see in the world”. That is something we should all aspire to. The likes of Madonna and Angelina Jolie & Brad Pit, by their actions, have proven that they not only understand this concept but are applying it. I pray that more of us do the same. May God continue to bless them and their good works.

Tara on

Its amazing, I am not a big fan of Madonna. But everyones seems to forget this man giving his son to that “Orphanage” when he remarried with a second pregnant wife. His first wife died and he put David in that orphanage because his second wife didn’t want to raise him. What cracks me up is that everyone defends the families of these people. It seems to me that the grandmother only popped up out of the woodwork when it was Madonna who wanted to adopt her grandchild. Well where was she the past three years when the child was sitting in an orphanage? This is all I am saying.

CelebBabyLover on

Clair- No, Zahara’s bio mom is NOT still alive. That was a RUMOR started by In Touch, and the adoption agency Angie used to adopt Zahara responsed to the article by reitirating that, before Zahara was adopted, her bio grandmother tesitifed in court that that Zee’s birth mother was dead and her birth father unknown.

CelebBabyLover on

Cassie- Banda is David’s middle name now, and CBB always lists both first and middle names of celeb babies (with a few exceptions, such as Heidi Klum’s boys, who have long, multiple middle names).

Alex on

CelebBabyLover – I don’t know that you’re strictly correct with the Zahara birth mother thing, because there was an interview with a woman who was said to be her and if I remember rightly, it was quite comprehensive. I believe it was stated that to be able to put Zahara up for adoption, at the time at least, there had to be no known living parent and they had supposedly claimed that her mum was dead to facilitate that. The truth of it, I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss it just because of what was said in court.

On another note, the BBC website are reporting that Madonna’s application to adopt Mercy has been unsuccessful due to residency issues.

Ellie on

Madonna has had her adoption bid rejected. I think if there is a living relative who wants the child, then the child deserves to stay with their biological family.

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